Social media platform Instagram has been credited for the rise of veganism.
An article published by The Independent claims there has been a correlation between Google searches for 'veganism' and 'Instagram' since the latter was launched on Android platforms in 2012.
The piece - titled The Surprising Reason Veganism Is Now Mainstream - asks: "Could it be that Instagram is responsible for veganism's PR overhaul, in which it has transformed from a kooky diet to an aesthetically-pleasing cacophony of 'earth bowls' and 'green goddess' smoothies?"
It cites the proactivity of the vegan online community, the visual appeal of plant-based food photos, and Instagram's hashtag system as playing a role in boosting veganism's popularity online and in real life.
This is not the first piece linking the growth of the movement to Instagram. In 2016, the Guardian published an article titled The rise of vegan teenagers: 'More people are into it because of Instagram'.
The piece quoted vegan teen Megan Malthouse who said: "More young people are into veganism (especially at about my age) because publicity for it has grown on social media, especially on Instagram.
"On Instagram, people make veganism look like a very desirable lifestyle, and young girls can be influenced by that. They always show pictures of vegan people looking beautiful and healthy."
An article published later that year by Vice outlet Munchies (This Is Why Millennials Are All Turning Vegan) quoted PBN writer Maria Chiorando saying: "I think social media is a huge driver of veganism and this may tie into why it is more prevalent among younger people. The vegan hashtag and Instagram accounts promoting healthy lifestyles are hugely popular.
As The Independent article notes, growth has continued since these 2016 pieces linking the social media site to veganism.
Just the last year has seen a growing interest in veganism in the UK. One example of this is Veganuary - an initiative which encourages people to try a vegan diet throughout January. It saw participant numbers shoot up to more than 165,000 this year, compared to around 60,00 last year (and 3,300 in 2014).
In addition, major retailers have been launching vegan products in a bid to keep up with demand.
One major launch earlier this year was by UK supermarket Tesco, which released the Wicked Kitchen range in partnership with brothers Chad and Derek Sarno (the latter is Tesco's Head of Plant Based Innovation).
The growth is expected to continue into 2018, with Sarno saying: It's super exciting. It's unavoidable, it's just going to happen - whether you're in the way and get run over, or are part of the ride.
"2018 - is our year. It's the year we go mainstream."
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